Monday, 15 September 2008

More double standards

This is an article about a man who found his wife in bed with their local priest.

If a university lecturer had sex with a student, it would be considered gross moral turpitude, a position of trust would have been abused and there would be potential for corruption and more importantly, for the student to get hurt. The lecturer would be dismissed and would be unemployable as a lecturer in the future.

If a priest commits a directly comparable offence, he gets a slap on the wrist and gets put into another position of trust in a different parish. This is just abominable. Lecturers are expected to understand the consequences of their actions and the harsh treatment for a 'moral lapse' is entirely justified. Shouldn't this be even more true for priests? You know, these guys who go around telling everyone else how they should behave?

I would have thought he would have made himself entirely unfit to be a priest on the following grounds:
  • Breaking the rule about celibacy. Well, I can't honestly be too harsh about this one since celibacy is unnatural, difficult and pointless
  • Committing adultery: This is one of the sins directly prohibited in the ten commandments. The priest and his church believe that god hates adultery so much that he wrote down a commandment about it on a bit of stone which was used to seal a covenant between him and his people. But breaking that commandment doesn't seem to be enough to prevent a man from being an ordained priest of that god. Adultery happens (again, strict monogamy isn't a 'natural' state of affairs), and far be it from me to suggest that anyone should be fired over an issue of personal morality, but these people cry for (and receive) special treatment when they want to prevent homosexuals or women becoming priests. I don't think it's too much to expect that they live up to the standards they preach.
  • Abusing a position of trust. Of course, this is the main issue. Priests, particularly catholic ones, are in a position to exert a great deal of pressure over vulnerable people. I'm not suggesting this is what happened in this case, but there need to be rules - as in the lecturer case - to prevent that happening. And it seems as though the only rule in the church is to hush it up as quickly as possible.

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